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Knowing How Much Your Injury Case is ‘Worth,’ and How This Knowledge Can Help in Your California Lawsuit

 

Knowing exactly how extensive your injury accident damages are and, as a result, how much your injury case is “worth,” are important pieces of knowledge in any personal injury litigation, especially in California. California has a statute, Section 998 of the Code of Civil Procedure, that is designed to promote the settlement of civil cases. It says that if the defense makes a settlement offer that meets all the statutory requirements listed in Section 998 (a qualifying “998 offer”), then there are some very important consequences you can face, depending on how you handle that offer and how your case resolves.

If your opponent makes a valid 998 offer that you decline, and the jury (or judge in a bench trial) awards you a sum of damages that is less than the settlement offer (or returns a defense verdict), then not only are you not eligible to recover the costs that you incurred after the date of the settlement offer, the defense can recover their costs that were racked up after the date of the offer. This difference can be quite a significant sum, and is just one more example of how your injury case can benefit from the knowledge and skill provided by an experienced California personal injury attorney.

A recent case from San Bernardino County (Superior Court Case Number CIVDS1505973) was an example of this process in action. The event that led to litigation was an intersection collision in the city of Upland. A city employee ran a red light and crashed into M.N. The employee was on the job at the time that the accident took place. The injured woman sued both the city and the man who hit her. The key dispute in this trial focused less upon whether or not the employee had caused the accident, and more around the extent of the injured woman’s damages.

The defense made the injured woman a valid 998 settlement offer of $150,000. M.N. did not accept the offer. At trial, the defense argued that the amount of M.N.’s harm that was caused by the accident was low. The defense pointed out that M.N. had suffered with neck, back and shoulder pain (which were the same problems that she asserted in this case) for nearly a decade. The defense also argued that the injured driver only experienced about 10-12 weeks of worsened pain. After that, her pain returned to the level it was before the accident.

The trial court was not entirely persuaded by the defense’s arguments. The court concluded that the damages that could be attributed to the accident were substantial, including a large amount of medical bills. The court returned a judgment in favor of M.N. and awarded her $178,000 in damages. That, obviously, was more than $150,000, so the injured woman was entitled to collect her costs, even those incurred after the date of the offer. This was no small sum, either, as the court awarded her a total of $35,000 in costs.

Every step along the path of your injury case can be the difference between important success and difficult (and perhaps costly) failure. For your personal injury litigation needs, reach out to the knowledgeable San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping injured individuals pursue the compensation they need for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Dealing With a California Injury Case When the Person Who Hit You Dies Shortly After the Accident, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 9, 2018

Your Legal Options if You are Hurt by a Self-Driving Vehicle in an Accident in California, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 6, 2018

Car Accident

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    I retained Ilya Frangos of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos on a business litigation matter involving a frivolous lawsuit filed in federal court. Ilya guided me through the case and helped make sure that I understood the process… He always took the time to answer all my questions and helped put my mind at ease. I would highly recommend him and this firm!

    Agatha

    I called Mr Frye after my wife had passed away… John listened to my case over the phone, after aggreeing to represent me, handled everything from there… I have already recommended Mr Frye to a friend for help with a similiar case and would without reserve recommend him to anybody. He came highly recommended as an expert in these type cases, and I believe he demonstrated this personally.

    Jerry

    Chantel Fitting is as good as it gets. If you have been injured, need help and cant get what you know you deserve from one of the big insurance companies, then you have got to call Chantel. She will fight for you like it was her that was hurt… She cares. Call her. You wont be sorry you did.

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    A great experience. Excellent law firm which treats their client’s with the utmost respect. Very knowledgeable and made me fell extremely secure when handling my personal injury claim. Would highly recommend Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to handle your next case.

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    I was fortunate enough to have been represented and retained by this law firm for my injuries sustained by an under insured motorist. I must say Chantel Fitting and Illya Frangos went above and beyond trying to resolve my case… I would highly recommend this law firm and stop shopping around if you are looking for the best, as this is as good as it gets.

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